"Radical shake-up" - Rugby World Cup matches set to leave free-to-air TV - Ruck

“Radical shake-up” – Rugby World Cup matches set to leave free-to-air TV

In the midst of a sweeping overhaul in both its organisation and broadcasting approach, the availability of the Rugby World Cup on free-to-air channels in the UK hangs in the balance.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Alan Gilpin pointed out the evolving landscape of sports broadcasting, notably impacted by the proliferation of streaming platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix, as a key factor in this uncertainty.

World Rugby is gearing up to auction the broadcasting rights for the next two iterations of its flagship event, as well as those of its women’s counterpart, a long-held domain of ITV since 1991.

While World Rugby has pledged to keep the Women’s World Cup in England, slated for two years from now, accessible to UK viewers without subscription, its CEO, Alan Gilpin, disclosed that decisions beyond that point remain undecided.

Diverging from their football counterparts, rugby union’s major tournaments are only legally mandated to broadcast their finals on free-to-air channels in the UK, a rule that World Rugby has staunchly upheld, rebuffing prior efforts by Sky Sports to secure the rights.

He revealed World Rugby would consider a bid from pay-TV to show matches at the 2027 men’s tournament onwards ‘as long as the content is made available across other platforms.’

But Gilpin did add: ‘There’s no doubt that free TV and partners like ITV, who have been great partners for us, are a part of that future. Because we want to reach audiences that wouldn’t otherwise pay for a subscription for rugby.’

Reacting to the story, one fan wrote: “Dumb simple as that.”

A second commented: “Surely not, would cut off a large part of viewership.”

Another said: “Further killing off the game to a world wide audience! Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.”

A fourth added: “How to kill a sport already struggling in certain countries…”


Rugby World Cup fan bases have been revealed and ranked

The guys over at Host A Fan have attempted to rank the Tier One fan bases.

They’ve based their ranking, from most important to least, on six different categories:

  1. Home Stadium Atmosphere 
  2. Passion
  3. Away Support
  4. Online Public Vote
  5. Anthem & Other Songs

Read their full analysis and ranking by CLICKING HERE.

Or check out the brief ranking below:

#10. Australia – 4.2

#9. France4.3

They Said: ” The French also score below-average rating for both Away Support and Home Stadium Atmosphere, the latter not helped by the fact you need a telescope (never mind a pair of binoculars) to see the pitch (never mind the action) from some of the seats at the Stade de France.”

#7 Italy 4.4

They Said: “Like the French, they are let down by Away Support and, most impactfully, Home Stadium Atmosphere, which can often suffer from one-sided, processional performances on the pitch, although thankfully, these are becoming rarer occasions.”